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Ford Australia’s Geelong Engine Plant, which currently employs 400 people, will remain open post-2010 and continue producing the company’s iconic in-line six-cylinder engine, which will now be engineered for Euro IV compatibility.
Ford will invest $21 million in plant and equipment for continued use post-2010, as well as invest in considerable engineering development of the I6 engine to ensure compliance with stringent Euro IV emissions standards.
This adds to the $200 million that the company has previously invested in facilities and product development in Geelong since 2006 and will supplement the company's ongoing Geelong-based stamping, R&D and Proving Ground facilities.
"This decision is good news, not only for our employees in Geelong, our suppliers and the surrounding community, but also for the many fans of our I6 engine, which will now be re-engineered to achieve Euro IV emissions standards," said Ford Australia President & CEO Marin Burela.
In addition to direct employment benefits for the Geelong region, the retention of the engine plant is expected to provide an on-flow of business to local service providers. Australian component suppliers will also benefit due to the continued requirement for a number of engine components, including intake manifolds, engine pistons, gaskets and bearings.
"This is the first step in a broad product investment strategy to reduce emissions and deliver improved fuel economy across our locally built vehicle line-up, including Falcon, Falcon Ute and Territory."
Ford believes that the Federal Government's new Green Car Innovation Fund provides a framework for the company to investigate an additional range of environmentally-oriented
product investment initiatives which, when combined with emissions improvements to the popular I6 engine, will increase future competitiveness.
“Our I6 engine continues to receive rave reviews for its performance, fuel economy and quietness. Keeping this engine in our product line-up will allow us to maintain our competitive edge and provide a distinct advantage over our direct competition," said Mr Burela.
“When added to our other proposed future product actions, we will offer consumers a range of choices that will allow them to continue enjoying all the benefits of Australia’s only locally manufactured vehicle to achieve a 5-star safety rating, along with continued fuel economy improvements and reduced emissions.”
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